Senate Passes Debt Compromise; U.S. Avoids Default


Tuesday, August 2nd 2011, 12:43 pm
By: News On 6


NewsOn6.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Senate has approved an emergency bill to avert a first-ever government default with just hours to spare.  The strong bipartisan vote was 74-26.

The Senate passed the measure Tuesday, one day after it passed the House.

The legislation combines an increase in the government's borrowing cap with promises of more than $2 trillion in budget cuts over the upcoming decade.

All five of Oklahoma's U.S. House members, Democratic Representative Dan Boren and Republican Representatives Tom Cole, James Lankford, Frank Lucas and John Sullivan, voted in favor of the measure on Monday.

8/1/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma US House Members Vote For Debt Measure

Oklahoma Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn voted against the legislation.  Inhofe said the budget cuts don't go far enough. 

"This compromise simply does not go far enough and relies too heavily on out-year cuts," Inhofe said in a statement. "Under this compromise, in FY2012, spending is cut by only $44 billion. In the same year, Obama will increase spending by over $300 billion. Clearly, we are not cutting enough."

Inhofe, a staunch supporter of defense spending, also bemoaned the measure's potential impact on the nation's military.

"The further defense cuts included in this compromise, possibly as much as $492 billion, could be enacted without full Congressional consideration and cuts of that size would effectively disarm America," Inhofe said.

Coburn called the deal a victory for politicians but a defeat for families.

Coburn, a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" senators, has supported an alternative plan to cut the deficit by almost $4 trillion over the coming decade through a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases. That plan would also curb the growth of Social Security benefits by moving to a lower inflation adjustment for annual cost-of-living updates.

During the weekend, Coburn spoke on the Senate floor and said he was "willing to take heat from my side" for his endorsement of closing what he described as tax loopholes.

8/2/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe Vows To Oppose Federal Debt Deal

The measure now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.